Peter Sagan's Bora-Hansgrohe team has announced they have officially lodged a protest against the Slovakian's expulsion from the Tour de France.

Race officials expelled Sagan following today's crash involving Mark Cavendish, which led to the British rider breaking his shoulder blade and withdrawing from the race.

The race jury ruled world champion Sagan wilfully obstructed Cavendish some 100 metres from the line after elbowing his British rival and causing him to be off balance.

Sagan came into the Tour as an overwhelming favourite to win the points leaders' green jersey for a record-equalling sixth straight time, having won it every year since his Tour debut in 2012.

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The German squad said Sagan "rejected to have caused, or in any way intended to cause the crash of Mark Cavendish", adding the 27-year-old could not see Cavendish as the Manxman tried to come up on his right-hand side.

Sagan, who was initially penalised 30 seconds for the incident before the race jury reviewed the footage, had finished second to Arnaud Demare of FDJ in the sprint prior to his disqualification.

"In the sprint I didn't know that Mark Cavendish was behind me," Sagan said.

"He was coming from the right side, and I was trying to go on (Alexander) Kristoff's wheel. Mark was coming really fast from the back and I just didn't have time to react and to go left.

"He came into me and he went into the fence. When I was told after the finish that Mark had crashed, I went straight away to find out how he was doing.

"We are friends and colleagues in the peloton and crashes like that are never nice. I hope Mark recovers soon."

Meanwhile, three-time Tour de France champion Greg LeMond said though Sagan was an aggressive rider he didn't deserve to be disqualified from the race.

"It is too harsh, I think", American LeMond said.

"Some riders hold on to a car on the Tour and they are not kicked out."

Overhead TV footage shows Sagan clearly elbowing Cavendish but LeMond, who won the Tour in 1986, 1989 and 1990, noted that some of the action could not be seen.

"There is a part of the overhead shot under a tree ... You can't tell if Cav' tried to lean on him. However his (Sagan's) response was way too severe," he said.

"In a sprint, when you're in front you try to close the door a little but sprints are very dangerous."

Riders often reach 70kph in a sprint and any change of line or contact can have dramatic consequences.

"What Sagan did was wrong but was it intentional? Did he purposely send Cavendish into the barriers? I don't think so," said LeMond.